Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training any day now, these daily posts will highlight two or three key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with us!
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50 Years Ago
The Yankees make history by hiring former Cardinals All-Star first baseman Bill White to their broadcast team. White became the first African-American play-by-play broadcaster in Major League history. Usually paired with Phil Rizzuto and Frank Messer on Channel 11, White called Yankees games for 18 years until being named National League president in 1989. For a generation of Yankees fans, White became a staple of their fandom.
16 Years Ago
Embroiled in a performance-enhancing drugs scandal, first baseman Jason Giambi makes his first appearance since the report broke, issuing a public apology. Giambi apologized to his teammates, Yankees fans and baseball fans everywhere, but never actually used the word “steroids” in his statement. Although he accepted full responsibility for his actions, Giambi didn’t clarify what those actions were (though in 2007, he did ultimately admit using steroids). He went on to hit 115 more home runs while posting a .916 OPS in his final four seasons as a Yankee, winning AL Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2005.
Six Years Ago
Ten years later to the day, another Yankees slugger issued an apology for his PED scandal, and it wasn’t even this player’s first time. Alex Rodriguez came forward on this day in 2015, less than a month before reporting to spring training, and announced his intention to move forward and play baseball with the Yankees.
This all, of course, came after a bizarre year where Rodriguez repeatedly threatened to sue the Yankees and was suspended by Major League Baseball for the entire season for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. The new A-Rod first appeared on this day, and it kickstarted a remarkable on-field comeback and image repair that few could have seen coming.
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February 10 is a loaded day for Yankees-related birthdays. The most high-profile player is Hall of Fame pitcher Herb Pennock, who was born on this day in 1894. He wore the pinstripes for 11 years, won three World Series, and was the Yankees’ workhorse during the 1920s. Pennock was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1948 after appearing on 77.7 percent of the ballots, the first Yankees pitcher to be voted in by the BBWAA.
Also sharing birthdays today are Allie Reynolds, who was a starter for six World Series champions as a Yankee and has a plaque in Monument Park, fan favorite starter Hiroki Kuroda, first baseman Lance Berkman, and 2013 fill-ins Alberto Gonzalez and Luis Cruz.
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We thank Baseball Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.